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June 26, 2009

 

Wireless Data Network Grant

Mecklenburg County has been asked to partner with the City of Charlotte and several other government entities to pursue a $30 million grant from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA). The grant would be used to fund the implementation of a county-wide wireless data network.

The grant requires a 25% in-kind match, which can be met with current staff participation, tower sites, and other internal resources. The City will lead this project, envisioning a data network that is used by public safety and other local government agencies that need wireless services. These agencies include UNC-Charlotte, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools (CMS) and Central Piedmont Community College (CPCC). The Charlotte Housing Authority and the Public Library also would participate in this project, focusing on providing wireless services to underserved areas and low-income residents.

The annual operating costs for this project are estimated to be $5-$6 million a year. These costs would be funded by agency user subscriber fees at well below commercial rates. Subscribers would include public agencies as well as the segments of the general public that fit the criteria below. The fees also would be used to fund upgrades to the technology, which typically are needed every five years.

Guidelines for submitting the grant are still being gathered but current estimates indicate the grant applications will be due in September of 2009 and funds will be distributed beginning December 2009. The grant requires that projects must:

  • Provide improved access to broadband service to people in underserved areas of the U.S.
  • Provide broadband equipment and access, education, awareness, training, and support to schools, libraries, healthcare providers, community colleges and higher education, and other community support organizations
  • Improve access and use of broadband service by public safety agencies
Based on these criteria, our plans for a county-wide wireless network should meet the grant requirements. It is estimated that it will be a two-year project to build and implement the wireless data network.
The City Council will consider a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) at its July 20 meeting. The MOU will then be presented to the Board of County Commissioners for consideration in August.
For additional information, contact IST Director Jerry Pinkard at email or 704-336-2891.


Park and Recreation Reservation System Upgrade

Because of its wide use and popularity, Board members should be aware that the Park and Recreation Department’s facility reservation system will be offline from June 26 – 30. During this time, the system will be upgraded to improve customer service and efficiency. This upgrade will include redeveloping the database and accounts for Park and Recreation Department customers.

While the system is offline, people may continue to register for recreation programs and reserve facilities by calling the City/County Customer Service Center at 311 or Park and Recreation at 704-336-3854. We anticipate the online reservation system to be available again at 8 a.m. on July 1.
 


Northwest Campus Health Department Ribbon Cutting

As a reminder, the Ribbon Cutting Ceremony for the Health Department’s Northwest Campus will be held at 9:30 a.m. on Wednesday, July 15.
To RSVP or for more information, please contact Kymberlye Worthey at 704-336-6448 or email.


- Harry L. Jones, Sr., County Manager


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